UPDATE: Apple denied rumors that it’s testing an MVNO service, telling Reuters “We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO.”
Years ago, it was rumored that Apple originally wanted to launch the iPhone on its own network rather than partnering with a carrier for the release. That obviously didn’t come to pass, as Apple teamed up with AT&T to release the original iPhone, but a new report claims that Apple hasn’t given up on its desire for an iPhone network.
According to Business Insider sources, Apple is currently privately testing a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in the US and that it’s also in talks to test a similar offering in Europe. The Apple service would reportedly let you switched between existing carrier networks depending on which signal was best using an Apple SIM. The Apple MVNO would see you paying Apple for your service rather than a carrier.
An MVNO is an operator that uses an existing carrier’s network to offer service under a different brand. Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile are examples of MVNOs in the US, as they both run on Sprint’s network but offer their own branded plans and devices.
Today’s report notes that if it’s going to launch at all, Apple’s MVNO service could be at least five years away from a public launch. Most of us know that Apple is all about control and keeping things in its own ecosystem by doing things like keeping OS X and iOS on Macs and iPhones/iPads/iPod touches, so it’s no surprise to hear that the Cupertino firm is playing with the idea of offering its own MVNO. Apple — just like many other companies — frequently tests out services and products that never see the light of day, though, and it’s possible that this MVNO could be killed inside Apple’s labs too. That said, it’d definitely be interesting to see what Apple would offer in terms of pricing and other parts of its MVNO.
Sticking with Apple, a second Business Insider report claims that Apple is testing a new feature that would allow Siri to transcribe your voicemails and then use iCloud to send you the text of the message. The feature reportedly allows Siri to pick up a call when you don’t, and the assistant can share information about why you didn’t answer the phone. It can then transcribe your voicemail and then display the text on your iPhone. This feature is reportedly being targeted for a 2016 launch.